This December, we are helping to connect you with Friends of the Afforestation Areas.
Saskatoon is a city of natural beauty and vast green spaces, and protecting it is of utmost importance. Afforestation is an important part of this effort, as it helps to create a healthier, more diverse environment, while also providing recreational and educational opportunities. Delving into the heritage of the afforestation areas in Saskatoon explains how to best protect and conserve them. Inclusive of the various benefits of afforestation, from improving air and water quality, to providing habitat for wildlife, to providing a place to learn, connect with nature, and simply relax. By taking the time to understand and appreciate the value of the afforestation areas in Saskatoon, we can all contribute to protecting our precious environment and making our city an even better place to live.
Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas is a dedicated group working tirelessly to safeguard and enhance the natural treasures in 474 acres of woodland greenspace in the southwest area of Saskatoon. Afforestation plays a pivotal role in this endeavor, creating a healthier, more diverse environment and offering valuable recreational and educational opportunities.
In 2014, a concerned group gathered to address the accumulation of toxic waste in the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area. Originally known as the Stewards and Stakeholders of Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, this collective evolved to tackle various challenges. A pivotal community meeting in 2017 led to a consensus on enhancing the park experience by installing barricades, increasing awareness, and improving safety measures.
In October 2019, the non-profit environmental charity Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas was established to actualize the vision set in 2017. Recognized by the Canada Revenue Agency, Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas is committed to ensuring the well-being of two precious green spaces—the George Genereux Park and Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area. June 2019 Non profit entity number 102084283 under SK Information Services Corporation (ISC) 2019-October-08 environmental charity Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas inc. was formed under Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) charity number 777143876 RR 0001
These areas are not just parks; they are vital habitats for wildlife and provide essential recreational and educational opportunities for the community. Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas projects focus on improving access, promoting education and conservation, enhancing safety and comfort, and valuing the aquatic benefits of 9.9 hectares (24 acres) of permanent wetlands (The north end of Chappell Marsh). By addressing these issues, Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas aims to increase community engagement and foster environmental stewardship in Saskatoon.
In essence, the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas strive to protect and enhance the user experience in these greenspaces. By addressing environmental challenges and promoting sustainable use, Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas envisions a city where everyone can enjoy the natural beauty of Saskatoon while contributing to the conservation of its precious green spaces.
The George Genereux Park and Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area are valuable green spaces. The parks provide critical habitat for wildlife, as well as important recreational and educational opportunities for the local community and visitors. These areas serve as important green spaces for the community, providing opportunities for outdoor recreation, education, and conservation.
Our projects focus on improving access, promoting education and conservation, improving safety and comfort, valuing aquatic benefits of wetlands and promoting sustainable use of the areas. This will add value to users and conservation objectives. We believe that addressing these issues is crucial to increasing community engagement and fostering environmental stewardship in Saskatoon.
The goal of the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas is to protect and enhance the user experience in these greenspaces, namely the George Genereux Park and Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, for the general public by addressing these environmental challenges and promoting sustainable use of the park.
Maps of the afforestation areas located inside the City of Saskatoon in the south west area of the city are included, and the directions to arrive at George Genereux Park and Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area are available on both websites (includes GPS coordinates); https://stbarbebaker.wordpress.com/ AND http://friendsareas.ca/
Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is located west of the Saskatoon Regional Waste Management Centre and Civic Operations Centre near Circle Drive, and east of the Saskatoon Italian Centre near Saskatchewan Highway 7. Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is south of the Canadian National Railways [CNR] chappell yards, and north of Chappell Marsh Conservation Area with access via Cedar Villa Road [concurrent with Township Road 362-A] to any of four parking areas.
George Genereux Urban Regional Park SW corner is connected to Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area’s NE corner at the Canadian National Railways [CNR] overpass on Saskatchewan Highway 7. George Genereux Urban Regional Park is south west of the 11th Street compost, and north of Saskatchewan Highway 7 with access via the Saskatchewan Highway 7 service road.
[As a side note; the south end of Chappell Marsh is located in the Rural Municipality of Corman Park 344 and the greenspace Chappell Marsh Conservation Area is owned by Ducks Unlimited. The north end of Chappell Marsh is located in the City of Saskatoon in the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area. Chappell Marsh is part of the West Swale wetlands. The West Swale is a low lying area of wetlands visible on satellite maps, showing the remnants of the Yorath Island Glacial Spillway, a huge Pleistocene era ice age event which featured huge torrents of water cascading across the Cory Plains, connecting the waters of the Glacial North Saskatchewan River, crashing into the Glacial South Saskatoon Lake, forming the confluence at the present day South Saskatchewan River. The Spillway outwash and spillway deposits formed Yorath Island. The Spillway also created a flat level greenspace in the forests, with the exceptions being the man-made railway grades.]
What types of programs or activities do you offer? What’s your most successful program?
The Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas have been fortunate to engage with Elizabeth Bekolay a local biologist and Norm Lipinski an educator in Saskatoon for over 30 years. Both have a profound appreciation for the natural world and have brought to life environmental guardian packages in the "Humanitarian and Conservationist Richard St. Barbe Baker Stories." and "Exploring the Wildwoods of Saskatoon: The Ecology of a Planted Forest " educational packages freely available online in French and English. The documentary Legacy of Saskatoon's Secret Forest. Heritage Documentary Film by Aspen Films. Richard St. Barbe Baker. Global Conservationist and Humanitarian. is followed by the Wildwoods of Saskatoon Film. These heritage documentaries feature notable guest speakers locally and internationally who speak to the rich history and heritage of the two afforestation areas the 132 ha (326 acre) Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and the 60 ha (148 acre) George Genereux Urban Regional Park planted to trees in 1972 under the Green Survival Program. The combination of educational packages and documentary films have been impactful in promoting environmental consciousness and understanding the heritage of the afforestation areas.
Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas offers a diverse range of programs and activities that engage the community in environmental stewardship and appreciation for Saskatoon's natural beauty. One of our most successful programs has been the installation of barriers and park identification signs, demonstrating our commitment to creating a safer and more welcoming environment for park users.
In addition to these educational initiatives, we host a variety of events throughout the year, inviting the community to celebrate Saskatoon's biodiversity, history, and heritage. From a YXE Winter City dog-sledding event to an Easter Egg hunt during the Easter Break, we create opportunities for people to connect with nature and their community.
Events like Jane's Walk Festival, Arbor Week, City Nature Challenge, NatureCity Festival, Doors Open, National Indigenous Peoples Day, Historic Places Days, World Environment Day, National Forest Week, Maple Leaf Day, Orange Shirt Day, and Hallowe'en-themed walks offer unique experiences that highlight the importance of conservation, heritage, and cultural inclusivity.
Through these multifaceted programs and events, Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas is dedicated to promoting environmental awareness, education, and community engagement. Together, we can create a more sustainable and vibrant Saskatoon for everyone.
- January a new YXE Winter City dog-sledding event is being planned.
- Easter Egg hunt is being planned for the Easter Break. Easter is Sunday March 31 the first Sunday after the full Moon that occurs on or after the spring equinox
- Jane's Walk Festival the weekend near Jane Jacob's birthday May 4 Jane's Walk North American pedestrian-focused event that improves urban literacy by offering insights into local history, planning, design, and civic engagement through the simple act of walking and observing.
- Arbor Week Third week of May promoting conservation, tree and forest awareness
- City Nature Challenge Observation phase April 26 to April 29, 2024 Identification phase April 30-May 5 2024 International event hosted by Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc. locally annual four-day global event where cities across the world compete to see which city can gather the greatest number of wildlife observations, find the most species and engage the most people at the event.
- NatureCity Festival circa May 21-26 has been an opportunity to get to know your wild neighbours, try your hand at citizen science, play, and create, though has been postponed for a couple years due to COVID.
- Doors Open Sunday at end of June City of Saskatoon Heritage and history relationships help define the character of our city.
- National Indigenous Peoples Day June 21 nation wide recognize and celebrate the history, heritage, resilience and diversity of First Nations, Inuit and Métis across Canada.
- Historic Places Days July 8 – 23, 2023 A Canadian event for heritage sites share their story
- World Environment Day June 5 every year celebrates environmental action and the power of governments, businesses and individuals to create a more sustainable world.
- National Forest Week and Maple Leaf Day of Wed. Sept 18 the week around the third Wednesday of September 15-21 The Friends seek a CoS proclamation for flag raising and host a number of events to increase awareness about Canada's forest heritage and to raise awareness about forests and trees
- Orange Shirt Day National Day of Truth and Reconciliation September 30th nation wide an Indigenous-led grassroots commemorative day intended to raise awareness of the individual, family and community inter-generational impacts of residential schools, and to promote the concept of “Every Child Matters”
- Hallowe'en October 31 and lead up a costume themed walk through the forest
- Culture Days September 22 - October 15 nation wide 3 weeks of colour, creativity, and community to celebrate Saskatchewan wide inclusivity of cultures
Are there specific demographics of communities you primarily serve?
Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas proudly serves a diverse and inclusive community that converges on George Genereux Urban Regional Park and Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area from across the city, province, nation, and the globe. This vibrant tapestry of park users includes:
- Bird Watchers: Individuals who appreciate and enjoy observing the diverse bird species that inhabit the afforestation areas.
- Women: Women of all ages who engage in recreational activities, nature walks, and community events.
- Cyclists: Enthusiasts who explore the trails and pathways on bicycles, promoting an active and sustainable lifestyle.
- Walkers and Joggers: Those seeking health and wellness benefits from walking or jogging in the serene natural environment.
- Youth: Young individuals and youth groups who find educational opportunities and recreational activities in the afforestation areas.
- Seniors: Older community members who enjoy the peaceful ambiance and health benefits of the natural surroundings.
- Wildlife and Nature Study Enthusiasts: Individuals passionate about observing and studying the flora and fauna in their natural habitat.
- Indigenous Peoples: Those who connect with the land, acknowledging the historical and cultural significance of the afforestation areas.
- Astronomers: Stargazers who appreciate the open skies and natural setting for celestial observations.
- Racialized Canadians: Individuals from diverse racial backgrounds who come together to enjoy and preserve the natural heritage.
- Wedding Parties: Couples and groups celebrating their special day amidst the scenic beauty of the afforestation areas.
- Persons with Disabilities: The flat terrain and a welcoming environment make the areas inclusive for persons with disabilities.
- Photographers: Those capturing the beauty of nature, wildlife, and cultural events in the afforestation areas.
- 2SLGBTQI+ Individuals: A community that values inclusivity and finds solace and connection in the natural surroundings.
- Citizen Scientists: Individuals actively contributing to scientific research and environmental monitoring.
- Snowshoers and Cross-Country Skiers: Winter enthusiasts who explore the snowy landscapes.
- Hikers: Those who appreciate the extensive trail system and the opportunity to explore the diverse terrain.
- Newcomers: Individuals who newly discover and embrace the natural and cultural heritage of Saskatoon.
In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, these afforestation areas became essential havens for community well-being and connection. The newly established barriers protecting the afforestation areas open doors to further eco-tourism use, promoting environmental protection awareness and public knowledge of the natural, historical, and cultural heritage. Spanning 474 acres, these iconic Saskatoon assets offer a year-round refuge and host events that promote sustainability, an active lifestyle, and tangible benefits for users while contributing to the protection of over 50 species at risk. Beyond conservation, these areas foster a sense of nature connection, reconciliation, and inclusivity, making them cherished destinations for diverse communities.
How have you seen your organization’s work make a difference? Can you share any success stories or provide examples of positive outcomes directly impacted by your organization?
The impact of Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Area Inc. on the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and George Genereux Urban Regional Park has been transformative, fostering a safer and greener environment for all.
- Toxic Waste Removal:
- Collaborative efforts have led to the removal of over 63,500 kilograms (110 thousand pounds) of toxic and hazardous waste from these natural spaces.
- The 474 acres of the afforestation areas are now secure for both people and wildlife, ensuring a healthier ecosystem.
- 5Rs Commitment:
- Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas actively promotes the 5Rs—refuse, reduce, reuse, repurpose, and recycle—through impactful education campaigns.
- The community has embraced sustainable practices, contributing to a more environmentally conscious and responsible community.
- Community Cleanups:
- Over 10 community cleanups since 2015 have seen active participation from youth groups, green groups, volunteers, and newcomers.
- The collaborative effort has not only cleaned the natural spaces but has also strengthened community bonds.
- BioBlitz and Nature Discovery:
- The safety of the parks has allowed park users to become citizen scientists on platforms like iNaturalist and eBird.
- Over 50 species at risk have been discovered and identified, contributing to biodiversity conservation reporting endangered species through citizen science reporting on iNaturalist to the Saskatchewan Data Conservation Centre..
- Invasive Species Management:
- Early detection and rapid response to invasive species have been facilitated and reported on iMapInvasives Saskatchewan, ensuring the ecological balance of the afforestation areas.
- National and International Impact:
- The organization's dedication to education and awareness has reached people across Canada.
- The legacy of Richard St. Barbe Baker, showcased in the documentary, has inspired the formation of international environmental groups and the planting of billions of trees worldwide.
- Heritage Events:
- Heritage events have unveiled the unique geology of the West Swale and the Yorath Island Glacial Spillway, contributing to community understanding and appreciation.
- The stories of remarkable individuals like Dr. George Genereux, Canada's only gold medal Olympian in 1952 who became a North American traveling professor of radiology, Saskatoon Detective Sergeant Bruce Gordon, a catalyst for pancreatic cancer research through the "BeLikeBruce" Campaign, and city builder B.T. Chappell, whose dual role with the CNR and the Exhibition Board facilitated the success of Saskatoon's pioneer Exhibition, have become sources of inspiration and pride for the community.
- Positive Collective Spirit:
- Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas stands as a testament to the positive impact that dedicated individuals can have on both the environment and the collective spirit of a community.
- The organization's work fosters a sense of pride and connection to the natural and cultural heritage of Saskatoon.
The organization's work stands as a testament to the positive impact that dedicated individuals can have on both the environment and the collective spirit of a community.
The transformative impact of Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas on the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and George Genereux Urban Regional Park is a testament to the organization's commitment to creating a safer and greener environment for all.
Do you collaborate with other non-profits, agencies, or businesses to provide programs or resources? How do these collaborations enhance the effectiveness of your programs?
Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Area Inc. thrives on collaboration with non-profits, agencies, and businesses, and we're truly humbled by the support we receive. Partnerships with non-profits in Saskatoon, businesses promoting our events, and providing sustenance for volunteers during cleanups have been invaluable.
The City of Saskatoon's sponsorship has played a pivotal role in enabling winter city event programming, installing benches and bird feeders to foster the connection between park users and nature, and offering guidance on environmental protections and cleanup logistics. Meewasin has been instrumental in advising on signage creation and fence installation modalities, ensuring the safety of wildlife and the forest, while also supporting Earth day and Earth month clean up initiatives with necessary resources.
We owe a debt of gratitude to SOS Trees for their expertise in tree protections, Dutch Elm Disease awareness, and their active participation in cleanups, environmental restoration activities, Arbor Week, and National Forest Week. The Saskatchewan Native Plant Society has enriched our understanding of native plants, crucial in the face of climate change and the decline of wildlife, as North American native grasslands remain the most endangered ecosystem globally. Permaculture Saskatchewan has provided invaluable advice on soil regeneration and companion plantings in guilds.
RCE Saskatchewan's oversight as a United Nations-designated Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development has been inspiring, aligning our efforts with the 17 United Nations sustainable development goals. The Saskatchewan Mycological Working Group worked in collaboration with the Friends for the City Nature Challenge and has opened park users' eyes to the world of fungi and lichen, emphasizing the need to record sightings on iNaturalist.
Volunteers from the Saskatoon Open Door Society bring enthusiasm and diverse perspectives to our initiatives, fostering cultural exchange and mutual learning. The overwhelming support from organizations like Wild About Saskatoon, Saskatoon Nature Society, Saskatoon Horticultural Society, Saskatchewan Environmental Society, and Student Action for a Sustainable Future has significantly contributed to the stewardship and well-being of our beautiful greenspaces. Together, these collaborations amplify the positive impact on the city's natural green health and our collective well-being
The collaboration with non-profits, agencies, and businesses has been instrumental in the success and impact of Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas' programs. The generous support from organizations like SaskPower, SaskTel, SaskCulture, SaskArts, City of Saskatoon, EcoFriendly Sask (now EcoFriendly West), Sask Outdoors, Saskatoon Nature Society, Government of Canada Environment and Climate Change, SIGA, and Mosaic has allowed us to achieve significant milestones.
With the funding provided, we've been able to host milestone celebrations such as the 50th anniversary of World Environment Day and the 50th anniversary of Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and George Genereux Urban Regional Park. Additionally, we've produced two impactful documentaries along with companion curriculum booklets and posters, fostering education and awareness about the importance of these natural spaces.
The support has extended to organizing and hosting cleanups, where community groups and park users come together to make a tangible difference. The funding has facilitated heritage and environmental study events, enriching the understanding of the unique features and history of the afforestation areas.
Critical infrastructure improvements, such as fencing installations for user safety and signage to deter illegal dumping of toxic and hazardous waste, have been made possible through these collaborations. This ensures that the wetlands and greenspaces remain safe for both people and wildlife, preserving the delicate balance of ecosystems and protecting species at risk.
The grassroots sponsors, corporate sponsors, and benefactors have played a pivotal role in making a positive and lasting impact on the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and George Genereux Urban Regional Park. This support has enabled us to carry out essential programs and initiatives that contribute to the well-being of these natural spaces and the community at large and is so very appreciated.
What are any challenges or obstacles your organization has faced? How were they overcome?
Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas has encountered various challenges in its mission to preserve and enhance the afforestation areas, but the organization has shown resilience and innovation in overcoming these obstacles.
- Environmental Hazards:
- Dealing with environmental hazards like piles of shingles and discarded tires posed a challenge.
- Overcoming involved concerted cleanup efforts and community engagement to raise awareness about responsible waste disposal.
- Negative Perceptions and Political Hurdles:
- Transforming negative perceptions and addressing political hurdles required showcasing the afforestation areas as safe, inclusive spaces.
- Strategic communication, community outreach, and collaboration with local authorities helped change perceptions and garner support.
- Community Growth:
- Expanding the community by acquiring new members has been an ongoing challenge.
- The organization has actively worked to attract individuals passionate about preserving natural spaces and biodiversity through targeted outreach and awareness campaigns.
- Financial Support:
- Relying on donations for funding environmental goals presented financial challenges.
- Strategic fundraising initiatives, community engagement events, and fostering partnerships with sponsors have helped overcome financial constraints.
- Balancing User Group Needs:
- Working with the City of Saskatoon, Meewasin, and user groups, in the afforestation areas it is good to find a balance between the diverse needs of user groups while addressing biodiversity needs presented challenges.
- Collective commitment to Richard St. Barbe Baker's vision and understanding the interconnectedness of life guided decisions, ensuring a harmonious balance.
- Infrastructure Funding:
- Finding funding for essential infrastructure like barriers, fencing, and signage was a hurdle.
- Creative funding solutions, grant applications, and community support contributed to overcoming financial obstacles.
- Role of Event Tour Leaders:
- The role of event tour leaders in fostering a connection between the community and afforestation areas was crucial.
- Empowering tour leaders through training, education, and recognition has enhanced their contribution to creating awareness and inspiring environmental conservation.
- Guiding Principles and Inspiration:
- Richard St. Barbe Baker's vision and quotes emphasizing the importance of trees and living in harmony with the environment served as guiding principles.
- His enduring wisdom continues to inspire the organization, providing strength and motivation to navigate challenges and ensure long-term preservation.
- Serendipitous Support:
- In moments of difficulty, serendipitous coincidences and support seemed to manifest, offering guidance and momentum.
- The spirit of Richard St. Barbe Baker became a source of inspiration for overcoming challenges and fostering a sense of responsibility.
- Enduring Wisdom:
- The enduring wisdom of Richard St. Barbe Baker continues to be a beacon for Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas, providing strength and motivation to navigate challenges and ensure the preservation of the afforestation areas for generations to come.
By addressing these challenges with determination, creativity, and a commitment to their mission, Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas has made a positive impact on the environment and the community.
Do you have a long-term vision or dream for your organization?
The long-term vision of Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas is a compelling dream that envisions the transformation of degraded meadows into a thriving native ecosystem, rich in biodiversity and ecological health. The organization dreams of witnessing not only the survival but the flourishing of species at risk, marking a vibrant and flourishing natural environment.
- Ecosystem Transformation:
- The vision includes the transformation of degraded meadows into a thriving native moist mixed grasslands ecosystem.
- The goal is to replace exotic invasive species with native vegetation, creating a balanced and healthy ecosystem.
- Flourishing Biodiversity:
- The dream is to see species at risk thriving, with an increase in the number of species observed, indicating a flourishing natural environment.
- The organization envisions a diverse and resilient ecosystem that supports a wide range of plant and animal life.
- Safe, Healthy, and Naturalized Ecosystem:
- The long-term vision extends to creating a safe, healthy, and naturalized afforestation ecosystem in the greater Saskatoon area.
- The community is envisioned as actively caring for and valuing the rich heritage and biodiversity of the afforestation areas.
- Community Commitment:
- The vision includes building a robust foundation of people, partnerships, and projects.
- Empowering users, stewards, and stakeholders to responsibly and sustainably care for the semi-wilderness habitat is a key aspect of the dream.
- Environmental Education and Preservation:
- The mission of Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas focuses on protecting the environment for biodiversity through active community engagement.
- Environmental education and preservation projects are integral to fostering respect and pride in these natural spaces.
- Conservation Through Knowledge:
- The commitment to environmental education aligns with the understanding that conservation begins with knowledge, critical thinking, and decision-making skills.
- Inspired by the quote "In the end, we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught" by Baba Dioum.
- Perpetual Preservation:
- The afforestation areas were preserved in perpetuity by the city council in 1972.
- Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc. was formed to honor that decision and continue the mission of conservation.
- Spirit of Witaskêwin:
- Embedded in the vision is the spirit of Witaskêwin, living together on the land.
- The project serves as a long-term strategy, bringing together the past, present, and future through the rich geological, historical, natural, and cultural heritage of the areas.
- Sustainable Future:
- Through science, conservation, and hands-on learning, the organization ensures a sustainable future for generations to come.
- The vision encompasses a commitment to environmental stewardship that respects the land and ensures its preservation for future generations.
In essence, the long-term vision of Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas paints a picture of a harmonious coexistence between nature and community, where the preservation of biodiversity and environmental education are at the core of a sustainable and thriving ecosystem.
How can the community help your organization reach its goals?
The community plays a vital role in helping Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas reach its goals and realize its long-term vision. Individuals can contribute in various ways to support the organization's mission of preserving and enhancing the afforestation areas:
- Membership and Involvement: Becoming a member of Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas is a meaningful way to show support. Active involvement, whether as a volunteer, tour leader, or participant in community events, strengthens the collective commitment to the organization's goals.
- Donations and Sponsorships: Financial contributions from community members, businesses, and organizations provide essential resources to fund projects, cleanups, educational initiatives, and infrastructure improvements. Donations and sponsorships play a crucial role in sustaining the ongoing efforts of the organization.
- Environmental Education Advocacy: Supporting and participating in environmental education initiatives organized by Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas fosters a deeper understanding of the importance of biodiversity, conservation, and sustainable practices. Spreading awareness within the community contributes to building a sense of responsibility toward the environment.
- Conservation and Restoration Efforts: The community can actively participate in conservation and restoration projects, including cleanups and environmental events. This hands-on involvement contributes to the transformation of degraded areas into thriving ecosystems, aligning with the organization's long-term vision.
- Promotion and Partnership: Community members can assist in promoting Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas by sharing information through social media, word of mouth, and community networks. Establishing partnerships with local businesses, schools, and other organizations further expands the reach and impact of the organization.
- Advocacy for Sustainable Practices: Encouraging and practicing sustainable habits in daily life, such as reducing waste, recycling, and promoting environmentally friendly practices, aligns with the organization's goals. These individual actions collectively contribute to a healthier and more sustainable environment.
- Respect for Natural Spaces: Demonstrating respect for the natural spaces within the afforestation areas by following designated trails, avoiding illegal dumping, and reporting any environmental concerns helps maintain the integrity of these precious habitats.
In essence, the community's collective efforts, whether through active participation, financial support, advocacy, or responsible environmental practices, are integral to the success of Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas. By working together, the community can contribute to the realization of the organization's vision for a thriving, biodiverse, and sustainable natural environment for present and future generations.
What volunteer opportunities are there within your organization? How can individuals or groups get involved and support your organization through volunteering?
There are numerous volunteer opportunities within Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas, catering to diverse interests and skills. Individuals or groups can actively contribute to the organization's mission by participating in the following roles:
- Board Member: Joining as a Board Member involves overseeing the direction and financial well-being of the organization. Members at large attend monthly board meetings, work on committees, and serve as liaisons between the community and the Board, ensuring the voice of users is heard.
- Event Manager and Committee Members: Volunteers can plan, lead, or serve on committees for fundraising and educational events, whether in-person or virtual. This role contributes to the success of events that raise awareness and funds for the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas.
- Grant Writer: Individuals with a knack for research and writing can explore grant opportunities, determine eligibility, and submit applications. This crucial role helps secure funding for various projects benefiting the organization and the afforestation areas.
- Fundraising Team Member: Joining a fundraising team involves actively working to bring in financial support for the organization, contributing to the overall well-being of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas.
- Donations In Kind Team Member: This role focuses on securing donations-in-kind for the organization, providing tangible support that benefits the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas.
- Event Personnel: Volunteers can assist with the coordination of events, handling tasks such as registration, greeting participants, and overseeing various event logistics.
- Field Tour Guide: Individuals interested in sharing their knowledge can become field tour guides, leading tours that explore the natural, historical, geological, and human geography heritage of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas.
- Trail Volunteer (GGURP) - Trail Alliance: Responsibilities include inspecting trails, monitoring for garbage, and reporting any issues. This role contributes to maintaining the integrity and cleanliness of the trail system.
- Various Specialized Roles: Volunteers can contribute their skills in graphic design, creating YouTube videos, general duties like poster distribution and administrative tasks, membership drives, social media/web page article submissions, photography, newsletter/publications, outreach programs, iNaturalist data inventory surveys, bioblitzes, biodiversity inventory counts, scavenger hunts, bingo, creating maps and trail guides, working on interpretation, marketing, heritage research, and participating in invasive species and species at risk programs/reporting.
To get involved, individuals can express their interest in a specific area by indicating their preference. Whether it's sharing skills in education, design, research, or hands-on fieldwork, there are diverse opportunities for volunteers to contribute to the long-term success and sustainability of Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas.
What about fundraising or donating opportunities?
Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas welcomes and appreciates various opportunities for fundraising and donations, providing avenues for community members to contribute to the organization's initiatives. There are multiple channels through which individuals and groups can offer their support:
- Canada Helps and Paypal: Donations can be made conveniently through platforms like Canada Helps and Paypal, providing a secure and accessible way for supporters to contribute to the organization's goals.
- Memberships: Becoming a member of Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas is not only a form of support but also a way to actively engage with the organization's mission and activities. Memberships contribute to the ongoing success of preservation and educational projects.
- Donate-a-Car Canada: The organization participates in the Donate-a-Car Canada program, providing an opportunity for individuals to contribute by donating their vehicles. This unique avenue allows supporters to turn unused vehicles into support for the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas.
- SARCAN Drop & Go 106100594: Utilizing SARCAN Drop & Go, individuals can contribute by allocating their recycling funds to the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas, offering a simple yet impactful way to support the organization.
- Crowdfunding Campaigns: Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas actively engages in the Preserving Nature's Legacy crowdfunding campaign through Fundrazr. https://fnd.us/12Jbd2?ref=sh_dD1pL0 These campaigns provide an opportunity for the community to participate collectively in supporting specific projects, events, or ongoing initiatives.
These fundraising and donation opportunities showcase the organization's commitment to providing diverse channels for individuals to contribute based on their preferences and means. The support received through these avenues directly contributes to the continued preservation, enhancement, and educational efforts aimed at safeguarding the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas for the benefit of current and future generations.
What is something that you wish more people knew about your organization?
The afforestation areas in Saskatoon, including the 132 hectare (326 acre) Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and the 60 hectare (148 acre) George Genereux Urban Regional Park, which were planted with trees under the Green Survival Program in 1972-1973, are living examples of the importance of afforestation in tackling the twin crisis of climate change and biodiversity loss
By raising awareness about these aspects, we hope to encourage more individuals to get involved, whether through donations, memberships, or active participation in our diverse projects and initiatives. Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas is not just an organization; it's a community-driven effort to preserve, enhance, and educate for the benefit of the natural environment and all those who cherish it.
Did you know that the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and George Genereux Urban Regional Park are living examples of the impact of afforestation on climate change and biodiversity loss? Planted under the Green Survival Program in 1972-1973, these pioneer afforestation areas showcase the importance of nature-based solutions for climate action.
The Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas are actively involved in promoting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, including SDG 3 Good Health and Well-being, SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities, SDG 13 Climate Action, SDG 14 Life Below Water, and SDG 15 Life on Land. By advocating for green space enhancements and naturalization, they contribute to the well-being of the community and the environment.
Climate action is a pressing global issue, and the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas are taking local action to address it. Connecting with nature through activities like walks in the woods promotes good health and well-being, aligning with the goals of the International Decade of Healthy Ageing 2021-2030 and the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030.
The Friends helped contribute towards the City of Saskatoon Natural Capital Asset Valuation Report in 2020. Following this, the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas helped to disseminate engagement opportunities in the open public engagement survey to include Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and George Genereux Urban Regional Park in the Blaimore Sector. To inform the process, Environmental Dynamics Inc., EDI conducted a Natural Area Screening Study to provide understanding about the natural, cultural, and historical assets. In exciting news, the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas learned that on Sep 28, 2023 , the Government of Canada is investing $20,000,000 in Saskatoon’s successful Natural Infrastructure Fund application through the Natural Infrastructure Fund (NIF) and the City of Saskatoon is contributing $14,632,759 from existing funding sources.Green Network Project funding is a means to advance the City's Green Infrastructure Strategy implementation plan, Pathways for an Integrated Green Network, and its vision for an interconnected green network in Saskatoon
The George Genereux Park and Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area are not just green spaces; they are valuable habitats for wildlife and essential for recreational and educational activities. These areas, spanning 148 and 326 acres respectively, provide critical wetland ecosystems that play a crucial role in water purification, nutrient cycling, and supporting diverse flora and fauna.
The West Swale wetlands within the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area are particularly noteworthy. Covering 17 acres, these wetlands are remnants of an ancient glacial spillway river, contributing to the South Saskatchewan River watershed's drainage network. Preserving these wetlands is essential for maintaining the natural balance of the environment.
The Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas also raise awareness of important global initiatives such as the International Decade of Indigenous Languages 2022 – 2032 and the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration Society for Ecological Restoration 2021 – 2030. Their dedication to conservation and education makes them a crucial force in shaping a sustainable and healthy future for Saskatoon.
In conclusion the non profit environmental charity, Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc, realizes the importance of connecting communities with nature and wetlands for the long-term quality of life of the community. Specifically, we aim to enhance the user experience at the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas.
Projects, events and tours bring numerous benefits to the community and visitors of Saskatoon Afforestation Areas, by improving their experience and enjoyment of these urban forests. The activities not only enhance access and comfort but also promote education and conservation, and ensure the sustainable use of these valuable green spaces.
Overall, this collaboration with "CFCR Community Connect" project has the potential to make a significant difference in the community, by promoting conservation, environmental education, and youth leadership.
To find out how you can be involved with Friends of the Afforestation Areas, click below!